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Archive for March, 2010

Okay so we are back from our much anticipated (and very needed) vacation to Walt Disney World. (It has been a month now – I want to go back.) It was an amazing trip, despite the icky weather. (I will take rain over snow – any day.) We had a great time. However, when we first arrived, it took EE some time to acclimate – which is funny because this is usually one of his strengths. He is pretty good at adjusting to new situations. Disney was complete and total over stimulation! We did not see this when he was four. He was just so excited to be there. But this time….different story. I think all the sights and sounds and sensations were just too overwhelming for him. He almost completely shut down which is not like him at all.

It probably took us 2 full days to all get into “Disney” mode and start enjoying our trip. The first 48 hours all I am thinking is, “What the hell is the matter with us? We are in Disney World, ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ and yet, we all look miserable. Then I had that Oprah ‘ah-ha’ moment. We were all experiencing some sort of overload. EE the senses. DH and I were in an emotional pressure cooker (Stress and baggage from home mixed with the desire for EE to have a good – NO great time.) What the hell did we spend all this $$$ for if we are not enjoying ourselves? So my epiphany triggered a tongue lashing for DH. (“Just because you like to be scared $h*tless on rides doesn’t mean EE does, nor does he have to like any ride. This is not about you. This is a FAMILY vacation. Got it? Good.) Which initially, he didn’t take so well, but after he cooled off (and realized how his emotions were affecting EE), he was more relaxed and the fun Dad that I know. Once he and I relaxed, then EE started to unwind and the rest was ‘magical’. We thoroughly just enjoyed being in the moment and really isn’t that what the Disney experience is all about?

Oh right, the book. Disney this time around opened my eyes to just how much OEs can affect kids. Disney is a booby-trap of sensory delights for most, but for those with OEs or other types of sensory challenges….Watch out! Yowza! The imagineers are truly geniuses of their craft. However, some kids (and adults) just can’t handle all that stimulation. Their imagination just can’t fathom that this is all just ‘make believe’. Even if they logically KNOW it, it is another thing to be submersed in the drama and intensity of the 4D theater and REMEMBER it. The sights, sounds, smells and yes….feelings of many of the attractions is amazing, but could trigger quite a meltdown in more than one child that I know. So parents of gifted children, especially those with sensory OEs, I advise you to do your homework before embarking in Walt’s Kingdom. Prepare your children (and spouses) for the inevitable rush that is Disney.

A few things to consider…..

  • Any 3D or 4D movie (ie – It’s tough to be a bug, Honey I shrunk the audience, Muppets, etc) is very intense. It is not just loud and colorful, it’s literally in your face and at your ankles. Small children WILL be overwhelmed.
  • Soarin’ is hands down one of the best rides ever, but think carefully about bringing anyone with the potential for motion sickness or sensory issues on this ride.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape and Dinosaur are NOT for preschoolers. Period. They’re way too intense. EE barely handled it this time around. Last trip, he was fascinated by just about everything, but these rides.
  • The fireworks and light shows are LOUD!!!! Bring ear plugs or noise canceling headphones. You will get wet at Fantasmic if you sit in the first 15 rows.
  • Mickey Mouse looks like a giant rat to an infant.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are sights and sounds everywhere in WDW. I LOVE IT! It is really one of my absolute favorite places to be, but this trip really opened my eyes. I truly believe that you need to be prepared for Disney. It is a lot of money to spend on a vacation. Worth every cent. However, I also really believe that a lot of families have NO idea of what they are getting themselves into. If your child has OEs – you really need to research and apy attention to what other families are saying. There is nothing worse than getting off a ride or leaving a show with a child who is terrified. What fun is that?  So my biggest advice…buy a good guide book and research online which rides your little dumplings may have trouble experiencing.

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Okay … Life has been a little hectic. Surprise! (Not!) However, we will get back to writing soon. In the meantime, in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday this week, I’d like to share Mary Beth Northrup’s hilarious poem. Enjoy!

If Dr. Seuss had a gifted child…

by Mary Beth Northrup

Dear Mom-I-am, dear Mom-I-am, we have a problem, Mom-I-am.
Your son won’t do what he must do. He drives me crazy, yes it’s true!
He will stall and squirm and hum, and leave all of his work undone.
He dreams and will not pay attention, have you considered medication?

With other kids he does not play, he is alone much of the day.
Something does not seem quite right, because I know he must be bright.
He seems to learn, despite the rest, but the work is not his best.
He is disruptive, yes it’s true. He just won’t do what he must do!

Yes, teacher, I can really see, how frustrating all this must be,
A child who does not meet the norm, a child whose mold won’t fit the form.
I’ve had him tested on WISC-III, by your approved test agency.
He scores far higher than the mean, there’s more to this that can be seen.

So help us, help us find the way, to teach this child best if we may.
He is not like the rest you see, he acts and thinks far differently.
We need another way to teach him, another way to finally reach him.
Not the normal thing you do, but something altogether new!

What! Something new – go bar the door! We’ve not done it that way before!
If we do this thing for you, then all the rest will want it too!
Change our ways, that can’t be done. Same for all, not changed for some.
All children are gifted, yes it’s true! Just MAKE him do what he must do!

Please, please, teacher, hear me through. The laws say you must help us, too.
His needs are different than the rest, we CAN help him to do his best.
We can make this easy too, it will not be more work for you.
This can work out, you will see. Try it, try it, please, for me?

All right, all right, if I must. I still maintain this is not just.
But first there is red tape you see, tests and checks and IEP.
And after weeks and months of proving, finally we can begin moving.
Then I’ll try it and we’ll see, if this method is the key.

Hey, I see something, yes I do! We have found something he will do!
No more fiddle, squirm and hum, no more worksheets left undone.
He’s zipping through, he’s learning fast, he’s doing his best work at last.
Why did I put up a fight? I guess dear Mom, that you were right.

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